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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Silver Comet & Chief Ladiga Trails Connecting Soon

During a meeting this week with Jeff Ciabotti, Vice President of Trail Development for the Rails To Trails Conservancy (RTC), I learned that construction is now underway to complete the final connecting sections of the Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet rail trails at the Alabama - Georgia state line. Upon completion of this project, a cyclist will be able to ride all 101 miles from Smyrna (a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia) to Anniston, Alabama on a smooth, non-motorized rail trail. Since Atlanta and Anniston are both served by Amtrak's Crescent, cyclists will be able to ride one way and take the train back.

Although there are many bike trails throughout the USA, the number of interstate trails is small; thus, the opening of this connector is quite an event. In fact, both the governors of Alabama & Georgia are expected to attend the ceremony as are key figures from Washington, D.C. (like Jeff) and representatives of corporate sponsors of the project (like Coca Cola) and stake holders (such as Atlanta's PATH Foundation).

During a meeting yesterday with Jeff, I proposed that we promote the ribbon cutting event to members of the RTC from around the nation as well as to cyclist organizations across the Deep South. Jeff suggested I begin by getting an update on the construction progress from project manager Shannon Robbins.

According to Shannon, the wet weather they've been experiencing this Winter has turned the work area into a muddy mess. As a result, the work on the rail trail may not be complete until mid July '07 amd no date has been announced for the ribbon cutting event at the Coca Cola kiosk being built at the state line.

I'm planning to ride the Chief Ladiga & Silver Comet and will be timing my visit to coincide with the ribbon cutting. If you'd also like to attend, either email me or check my site periodically as I will be publishing more details about the event as they become available. As I plan to take Amtrak to the event, I'll also begin to publish info about places to go bicycling along the route of the Crescent from New Orleans to Atlanta (and perhaps even beyond).


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